The painting, Silence, by Odillon Redon
This story highlights the aspect of secrecy in adoption. A secret weighs heavy on the heart. A secret can be found out. You mind your tongue, look over your shoulder, scan the room for a face with a knowing look. Your heart begs you to lift its burden.
Not long ago I was having lunch with new friends when someone asked the ages of my children. The answer to this question always elicits raised eyebrows or a comment. “I had my son when I was a teenager,” I said. “He was given up for adoption, but I reconnected with him.” I always keep the answer short, but people want to know more. When I say that I searched for my son and found him, people think that I’m Nancy Drew, or that I’m super courageous, or a ballsy political activist. My answer is just, I had to.
And sometimes we feel we have to tell our stories. Here’s the link to Caitriona Palmer’s book.
It’s enough to make me want to move to New England. Along with Maine and New Hampshire, Rhode Island has restored the rights of adoptees, allowing them access to their original birth certificates. Rights advocates battled for twenty years in Rhode Island, and it could be that Connecticut will be the next state to win its battle for adoptee rights.
So now there are seven states where adoptees have access to their original birth certificates. Maybe soon there will be eight.
My son’s original birth certificate resides in the state of Iowa.
Dear Iowa, please look east and pay attention.
Oh, and isn’t it neat–the Rhode Island state flag? It says “Hope.”
I joined American Adoption Congress recently after their call to action asking for Birthparents to sign the list in support of open records for adoptees. I’m not much of a joiner. I don’t especially like meetings. I don’t have the business skill-set to be a good organization volunteer.But I liked the idea of this list of Birthparents willing to write their names on a list to say, yes, I believe adoptees have the same rights as other adults, and no, I’m not hung up on confidentiality. Studies and surveys have shown that many Birthparents do not feel the need for a gatekeeper.
I was pleasantly surprised when their newsletter,”Decree” appeared in my mailbox. Essays and poetry with multitude of perspectives. I recommend it.